Sunday, May 17, 2009

Well ...This Stinks order to explore summer job opportunities at home I've been forced to move my flight up to...tomorrow morning (insert sad face here). Strathclyde University has been good enough to let me take one final (on the 29th of May) at Clemson (shout out to Sallie for administering it). I almost had a job here for the summer, but then came to realize that I had gone the cheap route and not paid to get the official student visa (for students to the UK from the States you can just slide in for 6 months with a stamp in the passport, but you can't work) there is apparently no changing of the visa unless you step foot back into the States. Thus in order to be able to continue my enjoyable college lifestyle I've been rather forced to return home early.
On the bright side almost every good friend I've made here is a foreign exchange student, so they will all have to go their separate ways within in two weeks. Still being the person who leaves the party early isn't fun. I did not realize what an amazing time I've had until the prospect of having to leave became a reality. Every day here has been adventurous because everything is different and therefore life over the last 4 1/2 months has rarely been boring. There are still things that I either forgot to do, didn't have time to do or didn't put the effort into doing here in the UK. I never got to see the Isle of Skye, I did not stand with one foot on both sides of the line that divides the hemispheres, I never enjoyed the Eagle and Child pub (where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to meet), and I still want to ride a horse in Scotland. Then again considering how long my list was of things I wanted to accomplish was, having it down to only four is pretty impressive.
My bags are mostly packed, tonight almost all of my Scotland friends sent me off well, by starting in the pub where several of us first got to know each other. The Aussies have been exceptionally kind and I'm thankful that I'll be able to see some of my new American friends again in the near future. One of the best ideas I stole from a student who was leaving as I arrived was to buy a flag and get everyone to sign it (I guess I've encouraged the defacing of a rampart lion), It will be nice to bring it home with me. I got my interview was kind of awkward but at least I believe I have all the footage I need to deliver on the needed projects for CLAM.
I believe that this is my last Blog from my Bonnie Scotland, thus I bid farewell to all those I've met in Scotland...know I'm going to miss all of you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Exam

We met outside, for that is the normal place to meet when the doors are locked. Many students littering the sides of the intersecting roads that surround the ancient red sandstone building. It was probably once a church and maybe still is, but on this morning it was to be used for a very different purpose. There we huddled like cows before a branding, knowing that what lay before us would bring no joy, yet left choice less by the powers that be. 925 a.m. the doors open and we are led into a room, it is just more than dimly lit by the stain glass windows that embellish its ceiling. We take our seats in the tiny desks which form long rows that nearly disappear into the distance. We are surprised to see our professor a tiny spec in the front of the room, she seemed so harmless before today. I'm sitting near the back of the room yet we can hear her cackle, such a small thin lady with dark wispy hair, most of us didn't even see it coming. We should have known she would be harsher than her friendly presence tricked us into thinking, it wasn't like she hadn't warned us. She had with her a large clock on a stick that was left standing at the front of the room, much like an extra watchful eye over her students. The room looked very much like that of the Hogwarts dining hall it just lacked floating candles and ghost...or so I thought.
The so called exam papers were there in front of us, on our desks looking innocent. I looked up from my desk to find Scott sitting to my right. "oh no" I thought "they got him too". There was nothing either of us could do, we watched in horror as a kid in front of us opened his exam before being allowed to do so, his paper came to life and tried to bite him, he narrowly avoided the paper, but it tried again, bit his shoulder then with strength much greater than any paper should ever be allowed to have it hurled him screaming up into the air and swallowed him whole as he came back down. we heard a muffled belch as the paper came to rest on the now human less desk. A young girl came in late and moments later took her seat where he had been. Scott and I stared at each other in disbelief.
Somewhere behind us huge doors closed with an ominous thud. a light breeze traveled through the room, "probably from the pressure of the door closing" I thought. Then our professor stood up in the front of the room and said something in a commandingly squeaky voice. No one heard her back where we were sitting, but suddenly exam papers were being opened all around me. One kid to my left had an exam spit something on him and his skin started to disappear, a girl in front of me was attacked by a swarm of bees, I saw two exams become whirlwinds and start torturing their student's. One kid behind us started sprouting mushrooms in all kinds of awkward places.
I looked at my exam, it was so innocently laying there before me looking harmless. I pulled out my mechanical pencil clicked it a few times for good measure, then ripped open my exam paper and dropped my pencil to stab its life out.
What happened over the next two hours is much to graphic for me to let the readers hear about. What is important is that Scott and I limped away in the end, which is more than can be said about some of the other students. Scott barely made one point during the battle I glanced at him and he was being held in a hypnotic trance by his exam. I never got the chance to drag him out but somehow he recovered on his own. One secret we learned is that exams do not like pencils, they say to always use pen, but I think they lie to us to make the students easier to handle.
More exams soon, this isn't what we signed up for.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Today I went to Stirling for a job interview. I finally saw the inside of the Wallace monument and his sword...unfortunately the only proof is on Kelsey's camera (she came along to see Stirling) as I forgot my camera. This week I have tried to study...ended up organizing everything and then totally lost motivation. However, today Scott showed me his study tactics (note cards) and I'm copying his strategy and planning on spending all day tomorrow in the library. ...hopefully actually being productive.
Yesterday was Cinco day one here celebrates, the restaurant we went to that evening was almost totally empty and Colleen had to explain to the Mexican restaurant workers that it was a holiday.
In other news I have not yet (to my knowledge) contracted swine flu, my fake stock portfolio is doing rather well (up 30% since December) I'm not ready to pay high taxes or suffer high inflation and I'm still looking for a summer job...(I guess that kind of negates my taxes statement).
Speaking of swing flu...Jim (study abroad coordinator) told this joke tonight (pub night)...he was on at least his 2nd beer at the time ...which made it much funnier. "a pig was running down the streets of Glasgow being chased by a hunter...the pig turns the corner of high street then stands up...the hunter turns the corner...points the gun around and asks the pig if it has seen a pig come running by" ......(end of joke) Sorry ...It might only be funny to a Glaswegian ...and that's probably because they spend a good chunk of their time has been witnessed on more than one occasion that a Scottish man will order a beer with breakfast.
That is all for now, I'm going to bed so goodnight all, I hope your days are blessed!